Maximum Happiness Imagination

I read/listened to this book a while back (HT to Bonnie for the recommendation [and the Audible login]) called Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It was a super fun read, especially on Audible, you should check it out.

But anyway I got this idea from it called Maximum Happiness Imagination, which yes, sounds like a Japanese game show. And Dane and I play it sometimes during the occasional (exceedingly rare) lull in conversation. 

It’s basically kind of what it sounds like. It’s just kind of a different way of asking: What’s your little heart and mind thinking right now? It can indirectly answer the question: What’s bugging you or sucking your joy out? 

It might go like this: “A way cheap, super-fresh-ingredients Mediterranean food restaurant within walking distance of our house.”

Or it might go like this: “Daniels Family Multi-Year United States Coast-to-Coast Airstream Trailer Tour”

Or it might go like this: “A wealthy, enigmatic-but-warm patron calls me up and offers a $40,000 advance on a novel, along with use of his lake house for the summer to write in peace. With groceries delivered weekly. And a golden retriever to warm my feet.”

It might be a “Money is not an object” kind of thing, or it might even be, you know, “laws of physics are not an object,” or “current political and legal systems are not an object;” you can base it in as much or as little reality as you want. 

Well, let me tell you about my Maximum Happiness Imagination right now. Which is kind of PARTLY based in reality; at least, I actually think it’s a POSSIBLE maybe reality; I mean, it doesn’t have to be the stuff of a sci-fi novel or anything, but I don’t think it’s going to happen tomorrow, either.

So here goes:

There’s this farm, see? And on this farm there was an Abbey. And a Dane, and kid(s), current + (?). 

The farm grows yummy, healthy, local food using good practices instead of just consuming consuming consuming and moving on. The farm ALSO employs refugees. Sudanese, Burmese Chin. Some it employs full-time, although there aren’t enough full-time positions necessarily to make a huge difference, so the farm also has a 12-mo job training certification program for other refugees in areas of food prep and hospitality. 

It sells bulk produce, semi-prepared foods, and other goods (granola, dairy, meat…?) to local orgs, ideally school districts who currently offer their kids frozen chicken nuggets made of pink slime and “crispitos” (mmmmmmmmmmmmm although who didn’t love a good crispito back in the day?). 

It sells things like nuts and trail mix/granola bars/whatever at farmers markets and various local coffee shops/other shops.*

If possible, profits support Pakistani orphans from the Sept 2013 Peshawar church bombing so that we don’t have to spend the next decade and a half continuing to fund raise. (This is a thing we’re getting started – stay tuned for more info. We will be having a comedy event in May or June to introduce this project to you guys – I hope you’ll come out!)

Abbey has a job that she can do WITH her son, either helping or running around, not being entertained all day long and not being put in a day care. 

I’m gonna take it a little further…… here’s where my crazy starts showing.

Not much choice farm land in the DFW area. So say my architecturally-minded, creative, incredibly handy husband starts building semi-tiny houses to house refugee families near their place of work. We have a community of Sudanese, a community of Chin, a community of whomever. Maybe we share meals a lot of the time. Maybe all our kids play together. Maybe all the laundry is in one place, and you don’t have to choose between housework and social time. 

MAYBE Tyler and KJ and T. Hollis come, and after dinner with all our friends, guitars and drums and instruments come out, and Sudanese and Burmese and all errbody start playing. Greg is there to mix and record. Maybe the weirdest, coolest worship album ever comes out. 

Maybe everybody goes to bed full and sunburnt and worn right out, having made more things than they used up that day.

Just an idea.


*Up to this point this is basically a direct ripoff of Create Common Good. I’d go work there, but it’s in Boise. But I have a mad ministry-crush on Tara Russell.

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3 comments on “Maximum Happiness Imagination
  1. Susanna says:

    I think you should start with the golden retriever #totallyattainable

  2. Catherine says:

    Brandon and I talk about this scenario every so often… Tiny houses people help to build, goats they help to raise, a place where people are able to take responsibility for something and contribute to/benefit from a community. Need to find some acreage!

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